Lambeth extends consultation on proposed school mergers and closures due to falling pupil numbers

A council has announced it will extend the deadline for residents to comment on its informal consultation into a number of potential school amalgamations and closures.

The consultation by Lambeth council – which will now remain open until August 18 – has been launched in response to falling numbers of children starting school in the borough.

To contend with these issues the local authority has put together a number of potential school amalgamations and closures for community feedback ahead of a formal consultation on final proposals and then a decision in the Autumn. 

Andrew Carter, Lambeth council’s corporate director said: “There are very difficult choices we need to make as a borough and we are determined to fully engage with our communities to explain the scale of the challenge.”

The council said falling enrolment has been caused by people leaving London due to Brexit and a one-third drop in birth rates.

Earlier this year, research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) suggested that Lambeth and Lewisham are likely to be hit hardest by falling pupil numbers, compared to the rest of the country.

(Picture: Pixabay/ Alicja)

The report said Lambeth is projected to see England’s largest percentage drop in pupil numbers at primary level – a loss of 24.5 per cent – and secondary level – 18 per cent, between the school years 2022-23 and 2028-29.

Lewisham came second behind Lambeth with a predicted 12.3 per cent drop in pupils at secondary level. Southwark also had a high predicted fall of 9.7 per cent.

The research followed analysis by London Councils in January that showed demand for school places in the capital is set to plummet.

The cross-party body warned last year that factors affecting pupil numbers included a 17 per cent decrease in the birth rate, rising rents and house prices, and the cost of living.

Mr Carter said: “We know that school communities need certainty about the future, and having considered the impact of a general election having been called, and looked at our overall timetable, it’s right to give people more time to have their say.”   

The consultation on the formal proposals will start when schools return in September and Lambeth council will consider final proposals in Autumn.

To have your say visit:  

Pictured top: An empty classroom (Picture: Lambeth council)

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